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Things you should know

FMLA forms renewed through 2/28/2015

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has updated the expiration date on its model FMLA forms to 2/28/2015, although the forms are unchanged from the 2009 version. What does this mean for employers? Employers must continue to incorporate the GINA safe harbor language and modify their forms to reflect to the 2010 amendments for military family leave.

NIOSH releases fact sheets for home health care workers

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released a series of fact sheets to educate home healthcare workers and employers on the potential hazards associated with this type of work, along with preventive measures.

Specifically, the fact sheets address the following topics:

For copies of the fact sheets, visit NIOSH at (February 13th listing)

EEOC issues final rule on GINA recordkeeping requirements

On February 3, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) adopted a Final Rule that will extend certain recordkeeping and reporting requirements to entities covered by Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). The rule amends Title VII of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to include references to GINA. The final rule "does not require the creation of any documents or impose any reporting requirements. It imposes the same record retention requirements under GINA that apply under Title VII and the ADA, i.e., any records made or kept must be retained for the period of time specified in the Title VII and ADA regulations." The rule takes effect April 3, 2012.

NLRB releases second social media report

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a second report describing social media cases reviewed by its office. It details the outcome of investigations into 14 cases involving the use of social media and employers' social and general media policies.

In four cases involving employees' use of Facebook, the Division found that the employees were engaged in "protected concerted activity" because they were discussing terms and conditions of employment with fellow employees. In five other cases involving Facebook or Twitter posts, the Division found that the activity was not protected.

In one case, it was determined that a union engaged in unlawful coercive conduct when it videotaped interviews with employees at a nonunion jobsite about their immigration status and posted an edited version on YouTube and the Local Union's Facebook page.

In five cases, some provisions of employers' social media policies were found to be unlawfully overly-broad. A final case involved an employer's lawful policy restricting its employees' contact with the media.

FMCSA releases fact sheets on CSA program

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently released a series of fact sheets on the agency's Compliance, Safety, Accountability program. The seven-item series outlines the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories of CSA's Safety Measurement System and provides compliance recommendations for FMCSA safety regulations. The fact sheets cover:

FMCSA issues final rule on controlled substance testing

Effective Feb. 29, commercial motor vehicle drivers were not be allowed to use controlled substances identified as Schedule I - a class of drugs that are found to cause dependence and addiction, according to a final rule published Jan. 30 in the Federal Register by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Schedule I substances include amphetamines and narcotics, which have been ruled to make CMV drivers incapable of operating their vehicle safely. The rule corrects inconsistencies with drug testing procedures among FMCSA, the Department of Transportation and the Drug Enforcement Administration, including barring drivers from refusing to submit to pre-employment or return-to-duty drug testing.

Fatigued new dads at higher risk of near misses at work: study

Fatigued new fathers are at higher risk for near misses on the job, according to a study from Southern Cross University, Australia. Surveys of 241 fathers at six and 12 weeks after their baby was born showed they experienced cumulative fatigue due to lack of sleep and inability to recover. Consequently, researchers found those workers were 36 percent more likely to have a near miss at work and 26 percent more likely to have a near miss driving to and from work, according to an SCU press release.

The fathers averaged 49 hours of work a week and experienced interrupted sleep averaging less than six hours per night. Recommendations include reconsidering when fathers take parental leave and employers ensuring new fathers are not assigned to dangerous tasks.

The study was published in the January issue of the American Journal of Men's Health.